Unravelling West's anti-Modi rants and narrative on India's war on terror - Hindustan Times
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Unravelling West's anti-Modi rants and narrative on India's war on terror

Apr 12, 2024 07:31 PM IST

Efforts have been underway to portray the Narendra Modi regime as a hyper-nationalistic regime, which is not averse to breaking international laws.

After the flawless hosting of the G-20 summit in 2023, a narrative has been created by the West and India’s adversaries to portray the Narendra Modi government as a hyper-nationalistic regime which is not averse to breaking international laws when it comes to protecting national interests. It started with pro-Khalistan Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who in a statement to Parliament on September 18, 2023, accused the Indian intelligence of orchestrating the killing of known Bhindranwale Tiger Force (BTF) terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver in June 2023. This was followed by the revelation of a US indictment of an Indian who was accused of acting on behalf of an Indian official to plan the assassination of a known Khalistan terrorist and violence instigator Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally ahead of the Lok Sabha Election in Udhampur, some 65 km from Jammu City, on April 12, 2024.(Photo By Waseem Andrabi /Hindustan Times)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally ahead of the Lok Sabha Election in Udhampur, some 65 km from Jammu City, on April 12, 2024.(Photo By Waseem Andrabi /Hindustan Times)

Read: Rajnath Singh's warning to Pakistan over terrorism. Then an offer

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Since then there has been a spate of articles in Western media accusing Indian intelligence of operating beyond the law when it comes to dealing with anti-India terrorists. Apart from insinuating articles and documentaries based on unnamed intelligence sources, the only piece of credible allegation thrown at the Modi government is the US indictment of Nikhil Gupta, with Canada still to walk the talk on the evidence in the case of terrorist Nijjar.

So what’s behind these smoke-and-mirrors games?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a political rally in Rishikesh on Thursday made his intentions very clear when he said that under his government "aatankwadiyon ko ghar me ghus kar maara jata hai." What PM meant was that his government has zero tolerance for terror and the Indian position against terrorism in all forms is non-negotiable.

While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have made it clear that the Indian response to cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan will be on the lines of the Uri surgical strikes and Balakot air attack, the Modi government, like others, has no intentions whatsoever to comment on its intelligence agencies or its counter-terror operations. It is suffice to say that those who comment don’t know and those who know, don’t speak to either the political leadership or the media in particular.

The mindset behind this orchestrated narrative in the West is colonial, to say the least, but it betrays the uneasiness of the past imperial powers and their lackeys towards a rising India with PM Narendra Modi expected to return back to Raisina Hill on a pro-incumbency wave after being 10 years on the hot seat. Fact is that while the West does not want India to weaken beyond a certain level to continue acting as a countervailing force to China, it does not want India to grow to such a level that it starts holding on its own in the world. Simply put, India’s rise in the world will not be as benign as many Bharatiyas expect but will be contested by both ostensible friends and adversaries.

The Western narrative to India’s muscular action against terrorism and in support of its national interest is in anticipation of Modi 3.0, where the focus will be pro-India not pro-China, Russia or the US as in the past. For an unbridled and confident India is as much of a threat to China as it is to the West, given that Bharat has been a continuous civilization for the past 5000 years with its own rich culture and diversities.

Although the West and even Communist dictatorships like China or military oligarchy like Pakistan want India to follow international rules, the question is do anti-India terrorists based in Pakistan or the UK, US, Canada or Germany also follow any rules apart from religious fundamentalism? Did the Khalistanis follow rules when they bombed Air India jumbo in 1985 or did Masood Azhar follow a terror doctrine when Harkat-ul-Ansar hijacked an IC-814 plane to Kandahar from Kathmandu in 1999?

Before 2014, India faced three decades of terror strikes and bloodletting at an industrial scale from terrorists based in Pakistan, but the West only asked India to exercise restraint and to talk to Islamabad for relief, with its media acting as amplifiers of jihadists. The Kashmir Assembly attack, the Parliament attack, the Ram Janambhoomi attack, the Mumbai train bombings, attacks on Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Jaipur and the 26/11 attacks are all reminders that India has been hit very hard by Islamists with West hardly ever castigating the terrorist state of Pakistan.

The UPA government in India instead of taking on Pakistan started playing politics with terror and coined the term Hindu terrorism for its vote bank gains. Rather than recognising that Islamists within India were out to rip apart the communal fabric of the country, the UPA government refused to recognise the enemy within. The pusillanimous UPA government did not even react to 26/11 massacre by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taibaa group and virtually gave credence to a lie that India was involved in the Balochistan insurgency at Sharm-el-Sheikh dialogue in July 2009, just eight months after Pakistanis spilled innocent blood in Mumbai.

The certainty of a predictable weak Indian response to a terror attack and the sanctimonious advice by the West actually followed a set pattern till Narendra Modi came to Delhi in May 2014. Suddenly the cost of cross-border terrorism to Pakistan increased after the Uri surgical strikes in 2018 and the Indian air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror training camp at Balakot in 2019. Fact is that after the February 14, 2019 suicide attack on CRPF troopers, the Indian RAW chief Anil Dhasmana called up the then ISI chief now Pakistan Army Chief Gen Asim Munir and gave him a list of Indian terrorists taking shelter in Pakistan for him to take action. Since the Indian demand fell on deaf ears, the Balakot strike followed.

Today, the Indian doctrine to terrorist and terrorism is quite clear. Nothing attributable or non-attributable will go unpunished as the Indian response will not be predictable or weak. Neither the Indian public nor the Indian political leadership will take bloodletting of innocents lying down. The answer will be given in the language that terrorists and their habourer nations understand.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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